Flicker Alley is proud to announce the release of a essential collection of eight landmark Soviet silent films all new to DVD in North America. The term “Soviet montage” is widely used in film circles, but understanding of Soviet silent film remains monolithic, based in large part on jut a few archetypal sequences. Presenting four documentaries and four fiction films made between 1924-1930, our newest box set LANDMARKS OF EARLY SOVIET FILM chronicles the development of Soviet Montage and showcases the many ways of approaching that mysterious moment between two shots.
The 595 minute box set includes beautiful new HD transfers of both Sergei Eisenstein’s last major silent work OLD AND NEW (1924) (and the film that most clearly exemplified Eisenstein’s cinematic theories), as well as completely unpublished feature by celebrated cinema theorist Dziga Vertov, STRIDE, SOVIET! (1926). Additional to these familiar classics, the collection contains six other lesser-known Soviet post-WWI cinematic treasures (running the gamut of genres and montage styles), such as Boris Barnet’s effective propaganda masquerading as charming comedy THE HOUSE ON TRUBNAYA (1928), and Lev Kuleshov’s stunt-filled comedy that pokes fun of American culture, THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF MR. WEST IN THE LAND OF THE BOLSHEVIKS (1924).
LANDMARKS OF EARLY SOVIET FILM is a continuation of a partnership with the Harvard Film Archive, Blackhawk Films Collection, and Lobster Films that began with our 2009 release MISS MEND, a Russian action-packed adventure serial by Boris Barnet and Fedor Ozep. The phenomenal score for MISS MEND was composed by frequent collaborator Robert Israel, who’s full-orchestral traditional scores are also found on this collection for TRUBNAYA, OLD AND NEW, and MR. WEST.
What makes this collection exceptional is that it contains slices of Soviet cinema, which may be new to many. Though early Soviet film can be united by the belief in the power of fragmentation, recombination, and juxtaposition, we hope that the films in this collection expand and widen conceptions of this important historical cinema movement.
All the films have original Russian intertitles with English subtitles, except TURKSIB (1929) and THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY (1928), which have full-screen English intertitles. All films have original musical scores new for these DVD editions by Israel, as well as Eric Beheim, Alexander Rannie and Zoran Borisavljevic.
Disc 1 & 2 – Fiction Films:
THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF MR. WEST IN THE LAND OF THE BOLSHEVIKS (1924 Comedy): 64 mins
THE OLD AND THE NEW (1929 Drama): 120 mins
THE HOUSE ON TRUBNAYA (1927 Comedy): 75 mins
BY THE LAW (1928 Drama): 80 mins
Disc 3 & 4 – Documentary Films:
STRIDE SOVIET (1926 Documentary): 59 mins
THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY (1928 Documentary): 87 mins
TURKSIB (1929 Documentary): 57 mins
SALT FOR SVANETIA, STRIDE (1930 Documentary): 53 mins
Special thanks to Soviet cultural specialists Maxim Pozdorovkin and Ana Olenina for their brilliant catalog essay entitled “Montage Uprising: A Collection of Soviet Silents” which is included with the box set.